Manchester Things to Do Tips by janiebaxter Top 5 Page for this destination
Manchester Things to Do: 484 reviews and 984 photos
Programme for Monkey Journey to the West MIF 2007
Manchester International Festival - A World Premier.
2007 saw the first year of the Manchester International Festival, and this event most certainly stamped the city of Manchester on the international cultural map.
Many of the events at the festival were unique and events were held all around the city centre.
Monkey: A Journey To The West was the highlight of the Festival.
Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng, Jamie Hewlett, the visual brains behind Gorillaz, and Damon Albarn world musician collaborated in an amazing and innovative piece of musical theatre telling the story of the monkey king.
The acrobatics, stage sets and costumes were all incredible as well as
the music, played with a mixture of Western and Chinese instruments. A real achievement for Manchester to get this premier. If it comes to your city - go and experience it!
The next Manchester International Festival will be 30th June to 17th July 2011. Events will include a play written by Victoria Wood about The Manchester Children's Choir.
Directions: Various locations around the city
2008 was the 11th Manchester Food and Drink festival.
Manchester has the most amazing amount of restaurants, pubs and other eating places and the Festival is a good excuse to try these.
The Food and Drink awards give the opportunity to vote for Manchester's favourites venues of the year and other events take place all over the city and the suburbs, in restaurants, pubs, shops, cafes.
This year the venue for the main events was Spinningfields, a new development of bars, restaurants and offices by the river. The festival has food and drink tasting, cookery demos and stalls selling local produce. Many restaurants run special events and meals for the duration of the festival.
The Manchester Food and Drink Festival is held yearly in October. There is also a Summer in the Park Festival in Platt Fields park, Oxford Road near the University in July, which is a mini food and drink festival to prepare you for the main event.
Directions: All around the city centre and near suburbs.
On-going events in Spinningfields
Manchester City Art Gallery
Manchester has one of the best permanent collections of Pre-Raphaelite work in the UK, ranging from the early 1850's paintings of Holman Hunt and Rosetti through to the later works of William Waterhouse (my favourite).
The Pre-Raphaelites created an entirely new style of painting using bright colours and taking medieval chivalry and romance for their inspiration. They also documented some of the social themes of the Victorian age - work, religion and emigration as well as commenting on the morality of the times. Many of the paintings are inspired by literature such as The Lady of Shalott and Ophelia.
The permanent Pre-Raphaelite collection is on the first floor, Manchester City Art Gallery.
The gallery is a great place to spend a few hours. The second floor has changing exhibitions varying from traditional to contemporary and the ground floor has a shop, and a cafe which is a great place to have lunch. They serve really good food, the soup is particularly good, and you can also have a glass of wine.
Address: Moseley Street, M2 3JL
Directions: Corner of Moseley Street and Princess Street
Phone: 0161 235 8888
Manchester Comedy Festival is held annually in October at venues around the city, including The Dance House, The Comedy Store and The Apollo. There are over 100 acts to see with local comedians such as Johnny Vegas and Dave Spikey and national ones Jimmy Carr and Ross Noble to name a few.
The City Life Comedian of the Year is announced at the on the final night. Previous winners include Peter Kay, Caroline Aherne and Justin Moorhouse.
Manchester has an excellent selection of comedy venues and comedy clubs both in the city centre and the suburbs - Frog and Bucket, Comedy Store, Comedy Lounge, M19 Bar.
See the website for calendar of events.
Ring from Dazzle
Dazzle jewellery exhibition is held at Manchester Town Hall every year during November and December. Showing a wide variety of jewellery styles from over 50 contemporary jewellery designers and makers, this is the ideal place to have a look for Christmas presents (including mine!) Jewellery ranges in style and price from expensive Gold and precious stone pieces, through to silver, enamel, leather, plastic and acrylic. The work here is all specially chosen for the exhibition and is unique and individual - you won't find anything like this on the high street.
Address: Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, M60 2LA.
Phone: 0161 234 5000
Chapel Walks is a tiny paved area just off Cross Street. I have no idea why it is called Chapel Walks. If I find out I'll update this tip. However, the name is irrelevant as it's not chapels here, it's bars and restaurants. This tiny pedestrian area has a row of excellent bars and eateries all next to each other, and is a pretty little place with tables on the pavement and old buildings.
The oldest established place here is a Manchester institution - Sam's Chop House. For traditional old English food, with massive portions, and a lively atmosphere. Next we have Grinch which has been here for many years and serves good food - Pizzas, European and English dishes, with lovely friendly staff.
Chaopraya is a Thai restaurant and Bar which won the City Life food and drink's newcomer award this year. It is very large and the food is good.
Bacchanalia I haven't tried yet but is a bar and restaurant.
Address: Between Cross Street and Market Street.
John Rylands Library
The John Rylands Library has recently been refurbished and now has disabled access, study areas and a new reception desk, café and shop. The modern extension links to the older part by bridge and the highlight of this old part is the main Reading Room which has an incredible staircase leading up to it.
The Library contains a collection of very important books and other material - medieval illuminated manuscripts, samples of the earliest forms of modern printing including the Gutenberg Bible, and personal papers of important historical figures in the local area such as Elizabeth Gaskell, John Dalton and John Wesley.
The Fragment of St John's is here. It dates from the second century AD and is the earliest piece of the New Testament in any language.
John Rylands first opened in 1900 and is a stone building in the Gothic style, with incredible stained glass windows of roundels and metalwork. There are statues of John Rylands and his wife in the reading room.
John Rylands library is free to visit and is open Monday 10am-5pm, Tuesday noon-5pm, Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday noon- 5pm.
Address: 150 Deansgate, Manchester.
Directions: City Centre.
HN cocktail bar
Harvey Nicholls cocktail bar on the second floor is a great place to drop into for a quick cocktail while you are shopping in the city centre or on a night out. It has huge menu of over 40 cocktails including the standard Mojito, Tequila Sunrise etc and also a "shop til you drop" - useful for a saturday afternoon pick-me-up! Prices from £3.50 for non-alcoholic up to £8.50.
As well as the cocktails they have planty of beers from around the world and a good range of teas and coffees, as well as champagne.
The bar is simply furnished with windows all along one wall and a TV screen above the bar - sometimes showing football and other times clips from designer fashion shows.
The is a selection of light snacks and nibbles - olives, breads and a restaurant next door for a full meal. There is live music at the "Smooth Sundays" brunch sessions from 1pm to 5pm.
Open until 11pm.
Address: Exchange Square, Manchester M1 1AD
Phone: 0161 828 8809
The Hidden Gem is Mary’s Roman Catholic Church built in 1794 and restored in 1993 to 1994 at a cost of £750,000. It is administered by the diocese of Salford and is located in a street, surrounded by modern buildings, at the back of John Dalton Street.
The name ‘hidden gem’ came from a description by a visiting Bishop. The interior has some interesting paintings and some beautiful stained glass windows.
Inside there is a selection of books and information cards for sale.
See picture 2 for Mass and other service times.
Directions: From Deansgate turn into John Dalton Street and go into Ridgefield next to Panacea bar. Turn left at the end and Hidden Gem is on the left.
The Cornerhouse is an independant cinema that specialise in art films and international films, many in foreign languages. There are 3 screens and generally one will be showing a current release while the other two will show something more alternative. There are often events surrounding the films they show - for example introductions and talks by directors or experts in that particular genre. They also run educational courses in film related subjects.
As well as the cinema the Cornerhouse has a bar, a cafe, a bookshop and an art gallery so you can occupy your time here for a few hours. It is next to Oxford Road Station so convenient to get to.
Address: Oxford Road, Manchester
Phone: 0161 200 1500
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